Neymar Move to Barcelona Increasingly Unlikely With PSG Unwilling to Budge on Valuation

?A new report from France suggests that Neymar’s immediate future looks more likely to be at Paris Saint-Germain, as the French club refuse to budge on their demands.

Neymar has made it abundantly clear this summer that he wants out of the Ligue 1 side, after failing to achieve the targets he set himself when he made his world-record move to the French Champions from La Blaugrana in 2017.


Meetings with sporting director Leonardo have acted as the foundation from which he’s expressed his desire to return to ?La Liga, with the French club’s hierarchy open to selling the forward if their demands are met.

However, despite ?Barcelona’s best efforts to avoid dishing out a similar fee to what they received by offering player-plus-cash deals, the French side are adamant they want to recuperate near the £200m they paid for the Brazilian.

That’s according to L’Equipe, via ?Mundo Deportivo, who also claim PSG weren’t interested in Barça’s previous offer of Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho and 40m – with cash the deciding factor in any deal.

With that in mind, it also rules out a potential swap deal involving Gareth Bale, to see ?Neymar move to Real Madrid, although any such suggestions that this was a possibility in the first place are farfetched, to say the least.

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Instead, the French publication state the most likely outcome by the end of the window is that Neymar will remain with the Ligue 1 giants. 

Leonardo would both be willing to see the player leave. However, if no substantial cash offers come in then he expects the 27-year-old to knuckle down and work for the team in a professional manner.

Earlier this month, a report suggested PSG chairman Al-Khelaifi was ?’threatening’ Neymar with solo training sessions and no football until 2022, in an attempt to curb the star’ attitude issues amid the transfer saga.

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Jurgen Klopp Admits Philippe Coutinho Would Make Liverpool ‘Better’ But Rules Out Impossible Return

?Jurgen Klopp has categorically ruled out a sensational return to Anfield for Philippe Coutinho, insisting he hopes the Barcelona forward ‘finds his luck’ at the Catalan side.

Ever since making the switch to the Camp Nou 18 months ago, Coutinho’s career has taken a downward spiral, being knocked out of the Champions League by his former side and failing to impress during his ill-fated spell in Catalonia – despite picking up two La Liga winner’s medals.


According to the gossip, ?Barcelona have been trying to flog Coutinho off to Paris Saint-Germain as they eye a return for Neymar, while ?Liverpool have been constantly linked with a move to bring their former star back to Anfield.

The Reds’ manager has put to bed such suggestions, however, telling ?ESPN that any deal is simply ‘not possible’ and that he hopes the 27-year-old can return to his best for the ?La Liga side.

“In general, Phil Coutinho helps each team in the world, still – 100%,” Klopp said. “It’s not about that. I like Phil, I think he’s a fantastic footballer and all that stuff, but it would be a big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big-money signing and it’s not our year for that.

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“It’s just not possible. As I said, having him would make each team better – us included – but I really hope that he finds his luck at Barcelona.”

Klopp even admitted that the ?Premier League side have kept in touch with La Blaugrana about Coutinho, although all the rumours were nothing more than paper talk.

He added: “We have contact, but not that close contact that I know exactly how he is doing, but the rest is only newspaper talk and stuff like that.”

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Junior Firpo Edging Closer to Barcelona Move as Bargain Deal Agreed With Real Betis

?Junior Firpo is on the verge on completing an imminent move to Barcelona after the Spanish champions and Real Betis agreed on a €27m deal.

With Marc Cucurella being sent out on loan to Getafe, Ernesto Valverde has been left with Jordi Alba as the club’s only recognised left-back, but it now appears they have found their man in the shape of the Spanish Under-21 star.


The move is now all-but assured according to ?Gianluca Di Marzio as Firpo, who shone for his country at the Under-21’s European Championships will come in to add immediate cover for Alba. While initially joining as the 30-year-old’s understudy, it is also thought he could be the legendary Barcelona star’s long-term replacement.

La Blaugrana appear to have struck a fine deal for the left-back, with the 22-year-old’s release clause having initially been €50m, and the fee mentioned standing at nearly half that.

Meanwhile, Betis already secured their replacement for Firpo some days ago, Alfonso Pedraza joining on loan from Villarreal CF with an option to buy.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Firpo moved to Spain at the age of six and joined the Betis youth setup in 2014 at the age of 18. From there he rose through the ranks before making his ?La Liga debut in 2018, becoming the first player from the Dominican Republic to do so.

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Shortly after he was called up to the Spanish Under-21 side, where he has shone, emerging as one of the finest talents in Spain, his stock rising even further as he helped guide Spain to glory in the European Championships this summer. In total for Betis’ senior side, Firpo has made 43 appearances and scored five goals across two seasons.

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The 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams in the World

We all know there is plenty of money in sport. Teams from various different sports have been raking in the money in recent years, but last year was something else.

?Forbes’ latest rankings of the world’s most valuable sports teams revealed that the cutoff to make in into the top 50 is now up $125m from last year and a whopping $1.2bn from just five years ago. Clearly, sports around the world are on the rise.

Here are the 50 most valuable sports teams in the world from last year.


50. New Orleans Saints – $2.08bn


The New Orleans Saints stormed to the NFL playoffs last season, beating defending Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles en route to the Championship game, where a controversial non-call against the Los Angeles Rams ended their hopes of a return to the Super Bowl.


49. Jacksonville Jaguars – $2.08bn


After a disappointing 2018 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be hoping to enjoy plenty of success in the coming years after selecting linebacker Josh Allen with the seventh pick in the 2019 NFL draft.


48. Kansas City Chiefs – $2.1bn


With MVP Patrick Mahomes as their new starting quarterback, the Kansas City Chiefs hosted their first ever AFC Championship game in January 2019, but a defeat to the New England Patriots ended their hopes of reaching the Super Bowl.


47. St Louis Cardinals – $2.1bn


Under the ownership of DeWitt Jr, the St Louis Cardinals have enjoyed an astronomical rise. Sporting their famous ‘Victory Blue’ once more, the MLB team find themselves battling towards the top of the NL Central division.


46. Arizona Cardinals – $2.15bn?


?The re-branding of the State Farm Stadium helped the Arizona Cardinals retain their place amongst the world’s elite, and selecting quarterback Kyler Murray with the first pick in the 2019 NFL draft will certainly help them bounce back from a disappointing season.


45. Liverpool – $2.18bn


?Liverpool’s run to the ?Champions League final in the 2017/18 season saw their value skyrocket, even though they fell to ?Real Madrid in the final.

Having recruited the likes of Virgil van Dijk and ?Mohamed Salah, the Reds re-established themselves as one of Europe’s strongest sides – something which has only continued in recent times.

Off the pitch, they signed a number of new sponsorship deals which saw their revenue soar  through the roof, whilst their pre-tax profit of ?$162m was the highest the world has ever seen.


44. Los Angeles Clippers – $2.2bn


Los Angeles is one of the most lucrative markets for NBA sides, so it should come as no surprise to see the Los Angeles Clippers here. Their value will likely fly even higher ?after their blockbuster signings of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.


43. Dallas Mavericks – $2.25bn


After a brief period of disappointing results, the Dallas Mavericks managed to transform their fortunes by drafting Slovenian sensational Luka Doncic, and Kristaps Porzingis’ new max contract will help their value rise even higher.


42. Arsenal – $2.27bn


?Arsenal are one of the biggest football teams in Europe, and their overall value of $2.27bn certainly reflects that.

Having signed a historic sponsorship deal with airline Emirates which was worth around $280m, the Gunners enjoyed a slight increase in value last year.

However, missing out on Champions League qualification for the upcoming season will certainly prove detrimental to their standing on this list.


41. Los Angeles Chargers – $2.28bn


Having relocated the team from San Diego back to Los Angeles?, the Chargers endured a challenging beginning to life in LA, but they still managed to retain the vast majority of their wealth.


40. New York Mets – $2.3bn


The franchise-record 11-1 start to the 2018 season was an incredible moment for the New York Mets, and their long-term deal with New Balance certainly helped boost spirits around the MLB franchise.


39. Carolina Panthers – $2.3bn


David Tepper’s record purchase of the Carolina Panthers for $2.3bn helped their value increase last year, and supporters will be eager to see their side improve on last season’s frustrating performances.?


38. Houston Rockets – $2.3bn


The Houston Rockets have established themselves as one of the NBA’s finest, and their run to the Western Conference finals only cemented their place as one of the sport’s most successful franchises.?


37. Brooklyn Nets – $2.35bn


The city of New York lives and breathes basketball, so the Brooklyn Nets remain one of the most desirable markets in the NBA. Their additions of both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in free agency will likely see their worth skyrocket in the coming years.?


36. Indianapolis Colts – $2.38bn


The Indianapolis Colts managed to reverse their fortunes and somehow qualify for the NFL playoffs but, after a victory over the Houston Texans, they then fell to the Kansas City Chiefs.


35. Minnesota Vikings – $2.4bn


The ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ will live long in the memory of Minnesota Vikings fans, who saw their team stun the New Orleans Saints with a last-second touchdown to earn their place in the NFC Championship game.


34. Oakland Raiders – $2.42bn


The bumper contracts of quarterback Derek Carr and head coach Jon Gruden see the Oakland Raiders retain their worth, even if results on the field have been underwhelming at times.


33. Miami Dolphins – $2.58bn


In their last season with head coach Adam Gase, the Miami Dolphins welcomed back quarterback Ryan Tannehill from injury, although it still was not enough to carry them to the NFL playoffs.


32. Chelsea – $2.58bn


Under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, ?Chelsea have transformed into one of the biggest – and most valuable – football sides in Europe.

The lucrative sales of ?Diego Costa, ?Nemanja Matic and ?Nathan Ake are just three examples of their incredible sales in recent years, whilst they have continued that trend with ?Eden Hazard’s blockbuster switch to ?Real Madrid this summer.

It was also the first year of Chelsea’s record-breaking £900m sponsorship deal with Nike, who took control of the club’s kit manufacturing duties until at least 2033.


31. Seattle Seahawks – £2.58bn


Now without the original ‘Legion of Boom’ defensive line, the Seattle Seahawks have endured mixed fortunes on the pitch. Their second-placed finish in the NFC West division earned them a place in the NFL playoffs, where they fell to the Dallas Cowboys.


30. Pittsburgh Steelers – $2.59bn


Opting to replace Papa John’s with Pizza Hut as primary sponsors, the Pittsburgh Steelers saw their value rise significantly last year, even if they were desperately unlucky to miss out on the NFL playoffs.


29. Baltimore Ravens – $2.59bn


As the most valuable NFL franchise in the AFC North division, the Baltimore Ravens recently moved on from quarterback Joe Flacco in favour of young Lamar Jackson, which saw them battle through to the playoffs.


28. Atlanta Falcons – $2.6bn


From a financial standpoint, the Atlanta Falcons have been a complete revelation. Their decision to cut costs of concessions ultimately led to fans spending more to celebrate, whilst a sizeable investment in the ?Mercedes-Benz Stadium has also boosted their overall value.


27. Green Bay Packers – $2.63bn


After renovating Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers adding plenty of new sponsorship deals, with partnerships with Ariens and Kwik Trip helping the team through a period of frustrating results on the field.?


26. Denver Broncos – $2.65bn


With the Denver Broncos acquiring part of John Bowlen’s share in the team, they have retained 100% of the shares in the franchise, with the hope of eventually passing control down to one of the late Pat Bowlen’s children. 


25. Manchester City – $2.69bn


?Manchester City have enjoyed a huge financial rise under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour, and the results have been extraordinary.

With Pep Guardiola in the dugout, the Citizens lifted the ?Premier League title last year, generating a huge amount of income, whilst their run to the Champions League quarter-finals will certainly have helped.

A shirt-sleeve sponsorship deal with Nexus Tires was hugely beneficial to the team, whilst a recent $860m deal with Puma will certainly preserve their status as a financial powerhouse for years to come.?


24. Philadelphia Eagles – $2.75bn


The Philadelphia Eagles may have dropped a few places from previous standings, but their 2017 Super Bowl victory – coupled with the subsequent increase in ticket prices – ?led to a rise in revenue.


23. Boston Celtics – $2.8bn


The Boston Celtics have enjoyed a huge rise in popularity in recent seasons, seeing their ticket and TV interest soar through the roof. Delaware North’s $100m restoration of the TD Garden has also made the Celtics a more valuable franchise.?


22. Houston Texans – $2.8bn


Fan support is a large part of the Houston Texans’ success in recent years, with supporters piling into the NRG Stadium without fail in the past few seasons. A slight rise in ticket prices has not deterred fans, who are prepared to do what it takes to follow their team.?


21. New York Jets – $2.85bn


The New York Jets enjoyed a slight rise in annual income, which will certainly help them build for the future. Young quarterback Sam Darnell has shown plenty of promise, and the hope is that he will be able to guide the Jets back to success.?


20. Chicago Bears – $2.9bn


Replacing head coach John Fox with Matt Nagy was a signal of intent from the Chicago Bears?. The franchise went on to add a number of fresh faces, whilst a huge trade for linebacker Khalil Mack also helped the Bears move back in the right direction. 


19. Chicago Bulls – $2.9bn


Despite results on the court leaving fans wanting more, the Chicago Bulls are still one of the most popular NBA franchises around. Their name carries a lot of weight amongst sponsors, and a recent deal with ?Zenni Optical is further proof of that.


18. San Francisco Giants – $3bn


The San Francisco Giants have been busy adding a number of huge sponsorship deals, including bumper agreements with Oracle and Fanatics which will help fund the franchise for years to come.?


17. Bayern Munich – $3.02bn


?Bayern Munich are far more than just a German powerhouse – they are an established European superpower.

Their constant ?Bundesliga success creates a huge stream of income for the team, whilst deep runs in the Champions League do the same. 

Benefiting from a huge deal with kit manufacturer adidas, Bayern have been able to pursue some of the world’s most exciting talent in recent seasons, which will almost guarantee success for many years.?


16. San Francisco 49ers – $3.05bn


With plenty of huge contracts on their books, the San Francisco 49ers have established themselves as a hugely valuable franchise. ?Jimmy Garoppolo’s huge five-year, $137.5m deal shattered records at the time, making his ACL injury even harder for fans to take.


15. Chicago Cubs – $3.1bn


?Working alongside Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Chicago Cubs took control of Marquee Sports Network, which will soon hold the exclusive broadcasting rights for the team’s games.


14. Washington Redskins – $3.1bn


The Washington Redskins have endured a challenging few years, seeing their fan support dwindle amid uncertainty over a potential relocation. However, their bumper merchandise deal with Fanatics? will help them generate plenty of global support.


13. Los Angeles Rams – $3.2bn


With the Los Angeles Rams soon set to move into a new $2.6bn stadium, their revenue is expected to increase dramatically. The Rams also handed expensive contracts to wide receiver Brandin Cooks and defensive end Aaron Donald, in what looks to be an exciting period for the franchise.?


12. Boston Red Sox – $3.2bn


Enjoying a sizeable boost in revenue, the Boston Red Sox won their ninth World Series in 2018. Fenway Park generated a huge income through ticket sales to non-MLB events, whilst their deal with the New England Sports Network only added even more revenue.?


11. Los Angeles Dodgers – $3.3bn


Finally getting themselves out of the luxury tax threshold, the Los Angeles Dodgers opted to ship out a number of expensive contracts to bring their day-to-day costs down significantly.?


10. New York Giants – $3.3bn


An abysmal season saw the New York Giants head down the route of a drastic rebuild, bringing in a new general manager and head coach to try and steer the team back to the playoffs.

Plenty of faith has been put in young running back Saquon Barkley, and there is a real hope that Barkley – alongside the new management – will be able to restore the Giants to their former glory.

MetLife Stadium has helped by generating a huge income, and deals with the likes of Verizon and Toyota ensure the Giants empire continues to expand.?


9. Golden State Warriors – $3.5bn


They may have been overthrown by the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, but the Golden State Warriors remain arguably the most terrifying superteam in sports history.

Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant (who is now with the Nets) brought unprecedented success to the Dubs on the court, but they have been just as dominant behind the scenes.

A huge $20m-a-year jersey deal with Rakuten is the largest in the NBA, whilst their new $1bn Chase Center stadium will keep the money pouring in.?


8. Los Angeles Lakers – $3.7bn


The recent Los Angeles Lakers may? not have been as successful as former iterations of the team, but their business is just as strong as ever.

Fans continue to follow the Lakers from all over the world, and their huge $150m-a-year income from radio and TV deals proves that they are still in demand.

Adding former MVP LeBron James to the roster only increased the interest in the Lakers, and the recent acquisitions of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins will likely do the same.


7. New England Patriots – $3.8bn


As one of the most successful NFL teams in the recent era, the New England Patriots have gone from strength to strength.

The combination of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have helped the Patriots dominate the AFC East, and numerous Super Bowl victories have brought unprecedented wealth to the franchise.

That revenue helped the team’s owners, the Kraft family, open Patriot Place next to the Gillette Stadium, and the countless shops and restaurants have only generated even more income.


6. Manchester United – $3.81bn


Once the most valuable sports team in the world, ?Manchester United remain one of the biggest brands around.

However, they have fallen from second to sixth in this list, largely due to some underwhelming results on the pitch. The Red Devils failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League, which has seen their income drop significantly.

Nevertheless, their sizeable sponsorship deals with Chevrolet, adidas and Kohler have helped generate plenty of revenue, whilst their global popularity will almost guarantee their place as one of the world’s biggest teams for years to come.?


5. New York Knicks – $4bn


The NBA’s most valuable franchise, the New York Knicks? have enjoyed more success off the court than on it recently.

The Madison Square Garden Company have continued to generate an enormous revenue in recent seasons, and their $1bn restoration of Madison Square Garden certainly helped that.

Having missed out on blockbuster free agents this summer, the Knicks will certainly need to keep putting in work behind the scenes to retain their place as the league’s most valuable.


4. Barcelona – $4.02bn


?Barcelona have a huge number of supporters all over the world, and they have the results on the pitch to keep them amongst the world’s elite.

The Blaugrana actually made a loss of €37m last season, largely due to the mammoth costs of their squad, but the fact that they remain so high on this list speaks volumes of their commercial power.

They lifted the ?La Liga and Copa del Rey titles in the 2017/18 season, and their run to the Champions League quarter-finals also helped cover costs.


3. Real Madrid  – $4.24bn


Now the world’s most valuable football team, ?Real Madrid’s sizeable boost in income can largely be attributed to their three consecutive Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018.

Away from the pitch, Los Blancos also agreed a bumper sponsorship deal with ?Providence Equity, and their huge $113m-a-year deal with kit manufacturer adidas also saw their value increase slightly last year.

Having spent so heavily this summer on the likes of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy, Real will certainly need to get themselves back amongst the trophies if they are to continue to fend off Barcelona and United.


2. New York Yankees – $4.6bn


What a year it was for the New York Yankees. Their 100-win season saw their average attendance increase massively, which is the highest posted by the Yankees since 2012.

As a result, this also saw their TV viewership numbers jump up. Last year, the number of fans who watched Yankees games on the YES Network, which they bought back from Walt Disney, was 57% higher than any other MLB franchise.

Falling to the Boston Red Sox in the ADLS was an underwhelming end to the season for the Yankees, and fans will certainly be expecting better post-season performances going forward.


1. Dallas Cowboys – $5bn


For the fourth year in a row, the Dallas Cowboys are the world’s most valuable sports team, with an incredible value of $5bn.

Owner Jerry Jones has been on a mission to grow the Cowboys’ revenue in recent years, striking huge sponsorship deals with the likes of ?WinStar Casino and Resort to add to their ever-growing portfolio of partners.

They posted a pre-tax income of $365m, which is the highest by any sports team worldwide, and Jones will certainly keep working to ensure the good times never come to an end for the Cowboys.


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Barcelona Third Kit 2019/20: Leaked ’90s Throwback Shirt Sure to Be a Hit With Fans

?An image of the expected new Barcelona third kit for the 2019/20 season has been leaked online ahead of its official release and it is set to be a popular one with fans around the world after drawing significant influence from two former kits worn during the 1990s.

The patterned light blue design instantly throws up memories of former Camp Nou greats like Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Hristo Stoichkov, Pep Guardiola, Romario, Ronald Koeman and others.


Although the original version wasn’t made by Nike, the logo on this one is also a nod back to the 1990s, featuring the word ‘Nike’ alongside the famous swoosh.

Barça have already gone retro with their away kit for the upcoming season after releasing a yellow shirt with a diagonal stripe reminiscent of the late great Johan Cruyff in the 1970s.

The club has also made the bold choice to ditch their traditional stripes with the new home kit, instead opting for a red and blue check pattern.


Ernesto Valvede’s Barça squad are currently on pre-season tour in Japan, where they will meet Camp Nou legend Andres Iniesta in a friendly with Vissel Kobe at the weekend.

The players will return to Catalonia in August to face Arsenal in the annual Joan Gamper Trophy, before then jetting off again to face Napoli in two exhibition games in the United States in the first ever La Liga-Serie A Cup. The new La Liga seasons begins in Bilbao on 16 August.

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6 Things We Learned From Chelsea’s Pre-Season Win Over Barcelona

‘Easy work’. ‘Cool as you like’. ‘About as comfortable as a game against Barcelona can be’.

Those are all things that you could say about Chelsea’s 2-1 dispatching of Barcelona in their pre-season friendly at the Saitama Stadium in Japan. 

But enough about what people have said. What did we learn? 

Well, with all the obvious caveats about the meaninglessness of pre-season, here’s what we know about the likely Premier League champions and the La Liga stragglers-to-be following this pulsating encounter. 


1. Tammy Abraham Is Good… Enough?

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Or is he? I don’t actually know yet. Which probably makes this a bad start for a ‘things we learned’ piece, but oh well.

Yes, Abraham got a goal on his first start of the pre-season, and it was a well-taken one at that, taking it from his left foot to his right in one swift movement to beat Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

But, moments before, he also missed an absolute sitter after some excellent work from Christian Pulisic (more to come on him), so it’s sort of TBD. Basically, he can finish chances he has time to think about, but not always the ones he doesn’t, maybe?

He’s certainly not the finished article, and questions still linger over his ‘big-six’ qualifications, but he’s got intelligent movement and isn’t afraid to rough it with the big boys, even if sometimes he can come out second best. 


2. Sergio Busquets Is Washed

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Sergio Busquets is washed. He’s a fraud, he’s probably balding, and he’s no longer fit to wear the Blaugrana shirt.

These are all possible takeaways from the midfielder’s incomprehensibly uncharacteristic error that gifted Abraham that opener, especially after the season of perceived decline he suffered last campaign. 

Or maybe he was just particularly jet-lagged? Either way, yes, we will be talking about the man next to him in the above frame. Just wait a bit. 


3. Chelsea’s Tactics Becoming Clearer Under Lampard

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Slowly but surely, Chelsea’s tactics under Frank Lampard are emerging. With another deployment of 4-2-3-1, it looks like that may be his preferred formation, though N’Golo Kante’s enforced exit from the tour means we are yet to see the Frenchman take his place in that anchoring two. 

Away from formational concerns, the Blues seem to have retained their high press, as well as a propensity to pass out from the back, though their build-up play is a bit more direct. Also, without Eden Hazard, their playmakers seem a bit more fluid and interchangeable – which is very 2019 of them. 


4. Signs of a French Connection Brewing

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Neither may have been wholly at the races, but in Antoine Griezmann’s first start in Barca blue and red, there were signs of a promising French Connection brewing with Ousmane Dembele.

While their collective finishing was erratic, their occasional interchanges were impressively sharp, and their work in the national team has clearly fortified a strong knowledge of each man’s respective games.

Promising signs at least for the coming season, Neymar deal pending. 


5. Christian Pulisic Is a (Profligate) Live-Wire

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Again, much of this is conditional on reputation (e.g. Griezmann was far more profligate than the Yank, but he’s Antoine Griezmann so, you know), but Christian Pulisic looks like a quality player… who can’t yet finish his dinner. 

But, seeing as it’s pre-season, we’ll gloss over the misses, and concentrate on the acts of backside-raising beauty – which is quite the feat during an 11:30 KO – because it’s hard to think of a more entertaining moment in the game than the myriad of times the American darted past and in-between his Spanish opponents. 

In full flight, he is a sight to behold, and he’ll certainly catch out a few Premier League defenders with his pace and guile. It’s just whether he can capitalise that remains the mystery, as of yet.


6. There’s a Lot of Pressure on Frenkie de Jong

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Here he is, the Dutch Saviour! And he’s ready to take over from the ailing fraud also known as ‘Sergio Busquets’, or at least he better be!

Because, as you can tell from this (pre-season) scoreline, Barcelona’s midfield is desperate for some reinforcements and, despite Oriol’s best efforts, the last thing they need is another member of the Busquets family (FRAUDS, the lot of ’em) plugging the hole. 

No, they need a Dutch wizard. They need the love child of Johan Cruyff and Nigel de Jong, and they need him fast. To be fair, starting with a pass completion rate of 100% from 42 appearances as a substitute isn’t terrible, is it? 


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Xavi Simons Complet Paris Saint-Germain Move After Announcing Surprise Barcelona Exit

Wonderkid Xavi Simons has completed a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain after announcing his departure from Barcelona.

The 16-year-old took to social media to announce his decision on Tuesday, which came as something of a shock considering the high regard in which he is held in the Barça youth system.

As reported by ?Goal, the champions of ?La Liga had offered the youngster a €100k-a-year deal to stay in the club’s La Masia academy programme but he has instead opted to move on.

The Dutch teenager only announced his departure on Tuesday morning, but just a matter of hours later, he was spotted at the headquarters of Paris Saint-Germain, with a club announcement made about his new deal which runs until 2022 shortly after on social media.

?Barça were initially shocked by the youngster’s desire to leave and in their attempts to persuade him to stay offered more money and a promotion to the Under-19 team. 

Simons, who is represented by controversial agent Mino Raiola, will be a big miss for Barça, but they are apparently not panicking about losing another talent to PSG.

Instead, according to Goal’s report, Barça are focussed on Ilaix Moriba and English youngster Louie Barry, who they now see as the brightest talents in fabled their youth system. Both players recently signed contracts, as they look to gradually progress through the academy into the first team.

In what has turned out to be a surprisingly amicable affair, Simons’ exit announcement included a heartfelt message to supporters, which said: As I am about to start a new and exciting adventure away from Barcelona, this club, its people and its fans will always hold a special place in my heart.”

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Twitter (Over)Reacts to Chelsea’s Pre-Season Victory Over Barcelona

Chelsea vs Barcelona. Under the lights. Saitama Stadium. 11:30GMT kick off. This was the big time. This is what football is all about [corporate games intended to increase brand awareness] and it certainly lived up to the billing.

And it was Frank Lampard’s Chelsea who nabbed the crucial victory, thanks to goals from English duo Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley. Actually, that opener was mainly thanks to the efforts of Sergio Busquets, who, uncharacteristically, sloppily gave the ball away on the edge of his box. 


Which lead to the Twitterati getting behind him, offering their commiserations and encouragement. Obviously.

That’s not to take away from Tammy’s involvement, who still had a fair bit to do, and finished it cooly with a two-touch finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, which provoked some nice, sensible comments.

And some nice, outrageous comments.



To be honest, it was more about redemption for Abraham, after the former Aston Villa loanee missed a gilt-edged opportunity moments before the goal. And it was the same sentiment for Ross Barkley, who sealed all three, err, ‘points’ for the Blues with a well-struck (in a pre-season kind of way) long-range strike with 10 minutes to go.

Which went down well.


But then, in added time, Ivan Rakitic scored an all-year-round good goal, helping to soften ?Barca’s woes, and cementing the Croatian’s place in the team following a summer of unrest.


Well, for some, at least.

In any case, the final whistle rang out, with Chelsea the victors. Naturally, fans were keen to stay grounded, and keep a pre-season perspective. Naturally.

Of course, the absence of Lionel Messi was conspicuous and, unsurprisingly, some fans were quick to point this out.


But, in any case, after a rocky start to pre-season, and some early ‘#LampardOut’ shouts, the new boss looks to have steadied the ship in west London, at least for the time being, and the good folk on Twitter were quick to recognise this, thankfully.


Which means it’s only a matter of time before this picture is replicated in real life.


Pre-season overreactions: You Love to See It.

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adidas Launches New ‘Hard Wired’ Boot Pack to Be Worn by Global Stars Next Season

?Adidas have revealed their new ‘Hard Wired’ boot pack ahead of the upcoming season, with updated models of a number of classic styles.

The COPA, PREDATOR, X and NEMEZIZ models have all received fresh new upgrades, with the boots now available in a number of bright colours.


Fans will be able to see plenty of these boots next season, with the likes of ?Lionel Messi, ?Paul Pogba, ?Mohamed Salah and ?Paulo Dybala all set to sport the new colourways across the ?Premier League, ?La Liga and ?Serie A.

The COPA has now been given a new ‘solar green’ colour, and the absence of laces only makes this design stand out even more on the field.

Whilst the COPA is an entirely new colour, the PREDATOR model will be primarily light blue, but with black accents around the collar and traditional adidas stripes. The studs also have their own splash of yellow.

Similarly, the X is predominantly blue, but with its own unique accents. The ‘X’ logo on both the heel and the studs is highlighted in a bright pink, whilst the adidas stripes are again black.

Finally, the NEMEZIZ is the epitome of what the Hard Wired pack represents. Redesigned in a bold magenta, the boot also features plenty of black to highlight the contrast between the two colours, whilst the studs have their own white detailing.

Designed to help players stand out from the crowd, fans will certainly have plenty of choice when it comes to the Hard Wired pack. Some of the biggest names in football will model the boots over the coming months, given fans countless opportunities to see them in action.

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Lionel Messi Set to Be Offered New Barcelona Contract That Could See Him End His Career at Camp Nou

?Barcelona are set to open negotiations with Lionel Messi over a new contract which could see the Argentine remain at Camp Nou until 2023.

Messi’s current deal expires in 2021, and he has made no secret of the fact that he would like to spend his entire career with the La Liga giants.

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?Barcelona seemingly want the same, as ?ESPN claim that they will soon meet with ?Messi to discuss offering him a new four-year deal which would see him remain at the club until he is 36 years old.

The club have the option to extend Messi’s contract by a further year, but president Josep Maria Bartomeu wants to reward Messi with an entirely new contract as he nears the end of his illustrious career.

While Messi is believed to be keen on seeing his worth to the side rewarded financially, he is incredibly interested to hear what Bartomeu has planned for the squad as a whole. He wants to see how club officials plan to keep them amongst the world’s elite as they pursue ?Champions League glory once again.


This is not expected to be a problem for Bartomeu, who has proven to be incredibly determined to keep improving the squad through the signings of Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann this summer.

He recently admitted his desire to see Messi remain in Barcelona ‘?forever’, and it is thought that a new four-year contract is just the first step in securing Messi’s long-term future with the Blaugrana.

Since making his debut for the club back in 2003, Messi has racked up an incredible 603 goals and 242 assists in just 687 games, and that form has seen him pick up an unprecedented five Ballon d’Or awards.

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The 32-year-old has won countless trophies with Barcelona, including ten ?La Liga titles alongside four Champions League wins. However, having not lifted Europe’s premier trophy since 2015, it is thought that that is one of his main goals for the immediate future.

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